Parklet outreach limited

May 24, 2013
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While there were no large-scale, widely-advertised public meetings to discuss Jamaica Plain’s upcoming parklet, as the Gazette previously reported, there was plenty of smaller-scale abutter outreach.

Boston Transportation Department (BTD) hosted three public meetings in February, April and May. The first two of those meetings was not advertised in the Gazette and none were held during commonly-accepted evening hours.

However, according to Jullieanne Doherty, the local representative from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, and Hyde Jackson Square Main Streets (HJSMS) board President Jason LaGorga, there was plenty of door-to-door outreach.

“Unfortunately, turnout at [the two public] meetings has been low, although very little opposition has been voiced to Hyde Jackson Square Main Street. Hyde Jackson Square Main Street believes that this parklet will be a great addition to the neighborhood and we look forward to its installation this year,” LaGorga wrote to the Gazette in a letter.

According to LaGorga and Doherty, they both participated in flyering the neighborhood near the proposed parklet site for a Feb. 26 meeting. BTD has not provided details on attendance or comments provided by the community at the February or April meetings, despite repeated requests.

LaGorga also told the Gazette that HJSMS and BTD met with community partners and the parklet designers to work on the parklet’s design. A May 3 public meeting was held at 10:30 a.m. “because this time was most convenient in which to meet with partners that run a restaurant and a retail store,” he said.

BTD did not schedule another meeting during evening hours. It also did not provide the community at large with a way to comment on the parklet’s design or location. After numerous requests, it has yet to provide the Gazette with how much the City is paying for the pilot parklet program. The budget was also not discussed at that meeting.

A parklet is a small, semi-permanent public space that resembles a deck, created from two to three parking spaces. It may include tables and chairs, bicycle parking or planters, among other options. Hyde Square’s parklet will take up two parking spaces.

Jamaica Plain is slated to get one of Boston’s first four parklets on Centre Street, across from Wyman Street. It is expected to be in place by July.

While the City is paying for the parklet’s design and construction, maintenance will be under the purview of community partners. In JP’s case, that will be restaurant Tacos El Charro and Sonia’s Bridal & Quinceañera.

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